Aug. 12, 2004
ERIE, Pa. – Notre Dame rising junior Katie Brophy (Spokane, Wash./Gonzaga Prep) narrowly missed pulling off one of the bigger match-play upsets at the 104th U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, dropping a 2-up decision in the second round to the defending NCAA individual champion Sarah Huarte on Thursday morning in Erie, Pa. After trailing by two holes at the turn, Brophy, who went farther at the U.S. Women’s Amateur than any other golfer in school history, was all-square coming off the 15th green before Huarte recovered to win two of the final three holes at the par-72, 6,365-yard Kahkwa Club. Huarte, a recent University of California graduate, is the niece of former Notre Dame quarterback John Huarte, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1964. She came into Thursday’s second-round match with Brophy owning an impressive pedigree — besides the NCAA title, she was a member of the 2004 U.S. Curtis Cup Team, was this year’s Honda Award winner (given annually to the top player in women’s collegiate golf), and was the No. 1 amateur in the nation, according to the Golfstat rankings taken just before the start of the U.S. Women’s Amateur. However, Brophy, a two-time all-BIG EAST Conference selection and the 2003 BIG EAST Championship co-medalist, was undaunted by her opponent’s honors, doggedly staying with Huarte throughout the round. Twice on the front nine, Huarte took a 2-up lead, but Brophy cut the margin in half each time with a birdie at No. 5 and a par at No. 8. Untimely bogeys at the sixth and ninth holes, as well as a double bogey at No. 7 (when Huarte also doubled) prevented Brophy from coming even closer to her counterpart. That all changed once the pair moved to the back side of the course. Brophy carded a birdie on the 10th hole to get within 1-up and then pulled all-square with a par at No. 12, coupled with Huarte’s bogey on the same hole. Huarte briefly regained the lead when Brophy bogeyed the 13th hole, but the Notre Dame veteran recovered nicely with a birdie at the par-5 14th to once again draw even. The duo then traded pars at No. 15 before Brophy finally blinked, taking bogeys on the 16th and 18th holes. The latter blemish came after she needed to win the final hole and aggressively fired at the flag in an effort to send the match to sudden death. The U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship has been contested annually since 1895, with this year marking the 104th version of the event. Past winners include LPGA legends Babe Didriksen Zaharias, JoAnne Carner, Beth Daniel and Juli Inkster. Brophy will not have much time to revel in her success at the U.S. Women’s Amateur, as she prepares to begin her junior year at Notre Dame on Aug. 24. She and her Irish teammates will open their 2004-05 season in early September (the finalized schedule is awaiting approval and will be released shortly), as they look to defend their back-to-back BIG EAST titles and make their second consecutive trip to the NCAA Championship.
— ND —